October 09, 2008

Alas, Poor Journalism. I Knew It, Horatio.

Stacy McCain observes the death throes of the dailies and weeklies as I visit the monthly consumer magazines in their own last days. At least in the glossy four-color industry we knew we were in a business; the daily guys seemed to think they were participating in some kind of church.


That a newspaper is a business -- that it exists to generate profit by providing a product to consumers, in the same sense that a shoe store sells shoes -- is an alien concept to most journalists. Notions like value-added, market share and comparative advantage never enter the minds of most journalists, who conceive of themselves as pursuing a profession that has nothing whatsoever to do with commerce.

So much of what newspapers have done, they've done at the behest of consultants, or by following the conventional wisdom doled out in ASNE conferences and journalism trade publications.

Hey; it worked for a while.


Stacy's observations are, as usual, clear-eyed, and he combines new-media savvy with a deep working knowledge of beltway politics. For what it's worth, the man can also hold his liquor better than most; that's probably how he gets his scoops.

Posted by Attila Girl at October 9, 2008 11:40 PM | TrackBack

Journalists rewrote their own job descriptions to make their work more fulfilling. Opinions went from the Op/Ed page and named columnists to every section of the paper. Pick up a recent copy of any big city paper and you will find Palin comments in the movie reviews, sports section, comics, music reviews, and even the food section. Really. You can see Russian vodka from the bar stool at the new restaurant. The local team tanked like Palin in an interview. Sitting through the movie was like sitting through the Palin debate. I have examples for the rest, but why bother. The 'news' pages went from the standard of no one discerning a point of view after reading to full advocacy, without presenting opposing views in most cases.

I've read my daily paper, the Chicago Tribune, each day of the 48 years I've been reading. I canceled it yesterday. I should have done it in 1991 when the dam broke.
I'll see the ads at the stores. The internet will fill in the rest.

Posted by: Darrell at October 10, 2008 12:27 AM

Good work lately, Fluffy!!!!

Wish mu.nu. would spend a couple of bucks and buy real anti-spam software instead of the Atari 2600 stuff they've been using.

Sherlock Holmes might notice the embedded code in the spam. So would Mr. Magoo.

But Fluffy you still do a great job of keeping off the real comments! Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Darrell at October 10, 2008 01:17 AM

Still--a sad day.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 10, 2008 01:18 AM

I've talked to Pixy; we have a plan. Look for changes within a couple of weeks, and let me know if you know any good blog-designers.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 10, 2008 01:20 AM

I hesitate to say anything since someone misunderstood a joke I made and clicked on a link that down loaded hemorrhoid based malware on his very expensive computer. Sorry Jimmy.

I think the death of journalism is rooted in its its becoming a profession. Lenin said "professionalism is a plot against the working class" by which he meant that it allowed "professionals" to prevent others from doing the same job and thus should be shot down like Kulaks. I like Commies, I don't agree with their economic malarkey but they sure get down to business when it comes to shooting the folks that get in the way!

Posted by: Sejanus at October 10, 2008 05:49 AM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.

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